Tag Archives: Fiona Long


Metropolitanical and detail

My new art practice utilises biofilms to create sculptural paintings. I’ve been developing this since 2014. I grow microbial cellulose surfaces from probiotic good bacteria and yeasts.

These intricate surfaces, resembling skin, are translucent and beautiful. I aim to make artworks that draw the viewer into the surface yet show a sense of decay and the visceral, intrigued by the slightly uncomfortable.

Mushroom Cave

Drawn to the Japanese ‘wabi-sabi’ aesthetic of beauty in the transient and imperfect, and how we react to the abject, I feel that these artworks can subtly convey themes of sustainability. Life-cycles, decay, ruin, and human relationships with nature are intertwined. I incorporate my interest in survival, bush-craft, and making-from-scratch into my practice, creating works which reference the past, and the now by using this alien yet seemingly familiar material with established art conventions like stretcher bars.

'Mother and Daughter' (2015) symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts, each 60x150cm

I consider my ‘Metro-Botanic’ works to be paintings in the ‘expanded field’ since they don’t use paint, brush, or canvas. They have a painterly sensibility and are very much about surface, colour, and allowing the glitches within the material to help drive my compositional decisions.

Beetroot dye on biofilm details

I’ve been investigating the utilisation and display of these intriguing films and have a wealth of ideas I still want to explore. I’m discovering ways to sculpt & collage the material and colour it with pigments which cling in a marbled fashion or natural dyes which impart intense translucent colour. I love exploring materials, testing them to their limits and using their unique properties.

Elbow Room

I learnt about these biofilms from my brother, who did vast amounts of research into kombucha, a health drink made from fermented tea, rich in probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. He used this knowledge to launch his skincare company Biomic, and here is its Facebook page. I used it to explore the culture which ferments the liquid, and grows as a by-product of the process, and how I could harness its properties to make art.

Turps Goes West

I’m taking part in a group show entitled: ‘ Turps Goes West’, curated by Marcus Harvey and Phil Allen at Edel Assanti Gallery.

The exhibiton runs from the 25 August – 1 September 2015 with the closing party on the 1st September.

This is the final show of the Turps Banana Studio programme I have participated in over the last twelve months.

Please note that the gallery is closed on bank holiday Monday.

Turps Goes West

Surface Views

I suppose that with my interests in art and psychology, it’s natural that I’d be fascinated by how people move around an art gallery and how they engage with the artworks. I love noticing things that hide in plain sight and noticing how people react to things they’d usually ignore in the context of an art gallery where one it attuned to observe and contemplate.

Estate of Serenity, Oil on hinged board, 2014, 70x60x20cm

I decided to make a body of artwork encouraging the viewer not just to look but to see.

The scale and nature of the paintings encourages a private, voyeuristic experience of the erotically banal. Rather than hitting the viewer’s peripheral vision with a large painting I wanted to create structures that encourage the viewer to come closer and engage with the painting one at a time.

Invitation, oil on hinged board, 2014, 60x20x20cm

These “Surface Views” explore surface through form, inviting the viewer into a personal space in order to contemplate memento mori through urban decay. Where nature attacks the city, we are reminded of the transient beauty and the poetic beauty of imperfection.

Opening, Oil on board in found frame, 2014, 50x60cm

They create a paradox of entropic layers of paint depicting old paint affected by time and nature through trompe l’oeil. The depth of these layers is further distorted by the three dimensional form.

The implied use value of the visible hooks and hinges deepens the paradox.

Pipewerk, 2014, Oil on hinged board, 70x60x20cm

I investigate the way in which the banal and everyday can be humorously elevated through laborious scrutiny. My paintings playfully challenge our expectations of the urban environment and investigate the psychology of space. With attention, the most ordinary details can become magical or disturbing observations.

Pipewerk installed in it's site specific location...

Entropy (sketch)

Here is a video sketch made in 2008 in Tokyo on a residency at Tokyo Wonder Site. Our group decided to go out onto the streets and make some video interventions. Robyn Minogue noticed a man sweeping meditatively near the temple so she devised a sweeping performance which I built on here. We were asked to focus on the theme of Waste. There was a lot of discussion on entropy and how, for the issue of waste management, entropy should be controlled! This is my response to that premise and it’s futility. Starring Robyn Minogue, and myself (Fiona Long). Camera: Cradeaux Alexander.

As you can see, it would need some rehearsal to be a polished performance but perhaps the relative chaos suits it anyway! I noticed from a photo of an exhibition in Tokyo that this was shown on a huge screen after I’d left the country. I guess that’s good?

Concrete Poetry

My “Concrete Poetry” series is an exploration of how it feels to live in the city. These chaotic images investigate the fast-paced lives we lead both visually and almost viscerally. An archaeological approach to painting shows the contrasts of the impact that both people and nature have on the manmade structures we are surrounded by. The Eastern aesthetic of the beauty of transience is contemplated to interpret the ever-changing urban landscape. A fascination with material is coupled with areas of representation using personal street photography and collages from free London newspapers as source material.

Formal Paintings of Informal Sculptures

Floral Burial ("Formal Paintings of Informal Sculptures" series)

Some paintings from my latest series. I am often intrigued by the collections of objects I encounter in the street, placed unconsciously or accidentally in what could have been a formal arrangement. If placed in a different context like a gallery, how would they be perceived differently? By painting these banal collections, I hope to highlight the way that people perceive the arrangements of objects that surround them. These collections are painted rather than literally re-displayed in order to humorously elevate them through the sheer laborious attention they’ve already been paid. It also questions the history of still life painting, street art, and the “found object” in sculpture.

Chasm ("Formal Paintings of Informal Sculptures" series)

Blue Ocean ("Formal Paintings of Informal Sculptures" series)

Bar Tur Award

Customer Fulfilment Centre

I’ve been preoccupied with the everyday lately, in fact, every day for several years. I like to find humour and wonder in overlooked and unexpected places. By finding something magical in something seemingly banal, the world at least appears to be a better place, and feels it too. I’m even reading a collection of texts on the everyday in contemporary art at the moment, and find studying the quotidian in theoretical and philosophical detail most amusing.

I also amused myself no end taking this photo. My colleagues in that particularly mundane job wondered what on earth I was giggling about, but to me this collection of plastic carrier bags and cardboard boxes, especially the one bearing the claim “Customer Fulfilment Centre” was a challenge. What could possibly be in that box to be the centre of all customer fulfilment? Perhaps it contains an elixir of life or a phoenix’s tail feather?

Anyway, having initially been laughed at for the photo, I entered it into the Lifestyle category of the Bar Tur photography award regardless and, blow me down, it was shortlisted! It seems that it wasn’t only me laughing after all!

“I’m in the heart of Tooting at the moment”

Tooting Town Centre

Last Friday, our latest show at Market POST opened. Titled “I’m in the heart of Tooting at the moment” the show was titled after overhearing a mobile phone conversation and wondering what the heart of Tooting actually is. The site responsive artists of Market POST responded to this question in the show. There is no clear town centre in Tooting and it seems to lie along arterial routes with no real heart. So we have explored where members of the community consider the heart of Tooting to be or if it has one at all? My main piece, on some locally salvaged doors encourage people to draw a map on the doors, and mark where they considered the heart of Tooting to be with a drawing or a story. It was like a cross between a folding map and graffitting toilet doors!

Tooting’s only Art Pound Shop

It’s been a busy time lately at Market POST. We are currently running a pound shop! There have been lots of pound shops in Tooting, but not like this one! Market POST is launching Tooting’s first ever Art Pound Shop with small works of art for just £1! This pound shop functions as a site responsive artwork in itself, questioning the value of art and the way that it is perceived. There are all sorts of strange and lovely works for sale including some original drawings, greetings cards, yam prints, and even concrete cupcakes!

Open 13th – 22nd June 12pm – 5pm daily

View Larger Map

Lightship residency video

Artist Residency On Board Light Vessel 21 from Spaghetti Weston on Vimeo.

After our wonderful residency aboard lightship LV21, Co-owner Gary Weston has made another brilliant video to show what we got up to and presented on the Public Open Day. As you can see, our Light Vessel Historical Society lecture and museum display, including Elsa Molpe’s painting, is shown on the initial screen of the video.

Thanks again to Paivi and Gary, LV21’s owners and Figure Ground for an incredible opportunity to explore such an astounding place with a great bunch of people.